Thursday, March 13, 2014

Marvel Mish-Mash for March 13: Cap's New Gear, 6 Phase 3 Films, Cap 3 to Battle Batman and Superman and Agents of SHIELD Cameos

The Marvel promo machine is in HIGH GEAR with the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier just hours away. With all the big shots out pimping the film, there's been a lot of snippets and tidbits and after the jump you can check out the best of yesterday.

Kevin Feige does a LOT of interviews ahead of Marvel's film releases and he's become very good at spreading out the information over multiple interviews. In yesterday's group of interviews with IGN and Slashfilm, Feige discussed the decision making process for the films of Phase 3 and why Marvel won't be giving up its May 6, 2016 date to make way for the Indie project Batman vs. Superman.

IGN's Jim Vejvoda asked Feige what he thought when Warner Bros. announced that they had moved the 
Man of Steel sequel to the May 6 date which Marvel had claimed some time ago. Feige responded, "I was very pleased. The more the merrier." When asked a similar question by Slashfilm's Germain Lussier, Feige maintained, "We're certainly keeping the date there and we'll announce what that movie is, I assume, in the next few months." At this point, Marvel seems intent on holding their ground and not backing down from what is sure to be a massive blockbuster in Batman vs. Superman.

Anthony (L) and Joe (R) Russo, co-directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Much of Feige's confidence in holding fast to the May 6th date may stem from the overwhelmingly positive early word of mouth circulating after some advanced screenings of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (some of which can be found here). We've heard for some time now that Marvel was very pleased with the job the co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo did bringing the classic Marvel story to the screen and the duo recently confirmed their return to direct the third Captain America film. I've speculated here that I believed that film would fill the May 6, 2016 date and, in an as yet unpublished interview, New York Post Entertainment Columnist Reed Tucker has gotten word from the Russos that they will film the next Cap film in 2015.

While this isn't confirmation of the May 6th date just yet, it's still the safest bet as this film is likely the furthest along in it's development with its full creative team on board and actively working on the script. With the job the Russos did on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the likelihood that it is an absolute blockbuster, it's no surprise that Marvel feels like they can go toe-to-toe with DC's big project. If you're being honest with yourself, you know you'll be going to see both that weekend anyway.

Slashfilm went on to ask Feige if Marvel would follow precedent and officially announce the title of the film slated for May 6, 2016 at this summer's San Diego Comic Con, "That would be great," replied Feige, "I’d love nothing more than to be able to announce them all there. But if it’s ready beforehand, we’ll probably do it beforehand. If it’s not ready then, we’ll do it after." And as has been the standard response to that question, Feige has answered without saying a thing.

IGN's interview with Feige did have an added tidbit that confirms some of my speculation and settles some debates that I've been having with some like-minded people. The good news is that nobody is going to be disappointed. As it stood before IGN's article, Marvel's announced plans for Phase 3 consisted of Ant-Man, in theaters July 17, 2015, and then 3 other scheduled dates: the aforementioned May 6, 2016, July 8, 2016 and May 5, 2016. With Marvel's insistence on putting out 2 films a year going forward, it's seemed glaringly obvious that there was a date missing somewhere else in 2017. I've had a really hard time reconciling their wishes to release 2 films a year with the open date and had concluded that, at some point, Marvel would be filling in the date while others took it to mean that Phase 3 would just be comprised of 4 films. I'm still sticking with my guns that Phase 3 will be comprised of 6 films: 5 solo outings and a third Avengers film. Feige made me feel a little better yesterday when he responded to Vejvoda's further questioning about keeping the May 6th date:
"We're still on that date and we're going to be announcing soon what the movie will be on that date. That's what we're sort of actively working on as we get ready to firm up and get into pre-production what will be the two films for '16 and the two films for '17."
So, from the horse's mouth, Marvel will be putting out a second film in 2017; they just haven't pinned down a date yet. While it's still up in the air as to whether that 2017 film will be a solo film or the third Avengers film, I'll put my early money on a solo. I'm on record as saying I can't see Marvel going through Phase 3 without expanding their Cosmic universe, especially if (read when) Guardians of the Galaxy is a huge hit. One of those 4 remaining solo films is going to be a Guardians sequel, a Nova film or an Inhumans film, among other possibilities. It's likely that Marvel will hold off until sometime in early 2018 to release a third Avengers film AND that they may need to further explore the Cosmic side of things to do it as they continue to expand their impressive cinematic universe.

Yesterday I embedded the promo from the upcoming Assembling a Universe documentary scheduled to air next Tuesday in the 8:00 PM Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. time slot. Later last night, Marvel released a minute long clip form the documentary which examines the beginnings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Check it out below:

Today, Comic Book Resources provided the world with another clip featuring the centerpiece of the MCU, Robert Downey, Jr.

The documentary, which promises to give a look at Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron looks like a can't miss for fans of the MCU.

Speaking of next summer's sequel to Joss Whedon's blockbuster The Avengers, while out promoting Captain America: The Winter Soldier, stars Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson have been routinely grilled over the film and its script with shooting just a few weeks off.

Evans, in an interview with Collider, spoke very highly of the script:

“[The Age of Ultron script] is great. It’s great.  But I’ll tell you this: every time I’ve read a Marvel script, they surpass it.  You read it and you’re like, ‘Well this is gonna be great,’ and then they make it and it’s even better.  The script is great, it’s great.  So if that’s any indication, I think we’re in for a good movie.”

While talking to Hit Fix, Evans also revealed that Cap will be donning yet another new costume when he appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron. When asked if the gear he suits up in during the sequel is different, Evans simply replied, "It is." While the trailer for the upcoming Cap sequel shows Evans in his Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. suit and his old-school WWII suit, there's plenty of battle damage done to Cap during the film. Will the next suit Rogers' dons be another traditional comic suit, or will Marvel design something new for the big screen?

Black Widow actress Scarlett Johansson has also praised Joss Whedon's script for Avengers: Age of Ultron and has been at the center of a lot of speculation lately on two fronts: the impact her pregnancy will have on filming the Avengers sequel and the development of a solo film for her character.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Johansson confirmed the speculation that her scenes would be fast-tracked was accurate:
"Everything for "Avengers 2" -- we're full steam ahead. We start shooting in three weeks and I'm stunt training and we're good to go. You know, I think it's something that is [laughing] hard to talk about, exactly. You know, trying to skirt around your question exactly [laughs] -- and, you know, doing a poor job of it. But, you know, like I said, everything is exactly on schedule [...] [Laughs] Everything is going just fine. The Black Widow always wins and will continue to."
Marvel Studio's President, Kevin Feige, was also asked about the pregnancy and its impact on filming and had the following to say in an interview with Collider:
“Well my first reaction was I was very happy for her and very excited for her,” said Feige. “My second reaction was we’ve gotta move some pieces on the chess board around schedule-wise. But we didn’t change the script at all, which is sort of the most important things for us in terms of the storyline. I think the goal is for us to sit here talking about the fact that you would never know that Black Widow was pregnant during the filming of the movie when you see the final version of Avengers 2.”
In a separate interview with Superhero Hype, Feige addressed the development of the oft-speculated Black Widow solo film. "I think the idea would be great," Feige said about the potential movie. "We've got various outlines and ideas of where to take that," he continued, "...The question really is, 'When will we take her out of the ensemble and have her do her own thing?" The Black Widow plays a huge part in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and is said to be taking on an even bigger role in Avengers: Age of Ultron (Feige calls her "the key to so much of the plot development.") and Johansson has really grown into the role. It makes sense that, at some point, Marvel will reward her with her own film.

A lot of talk has centered on the Maximoff twins, Wanda and Pietro, of late and their role in the MCU. Rumors have them appearing sooner than later and yesterday, Unleash the Fanboy reported that their Marvel source told them that super-powered duo, who are mutants in the comics, would have their MCU powers explained through them being Inhumans. Since Marvel does not apparently have the rights to use mutants in their films, a connection to the Inhumans (who are mutants of a different sort) seemed to be a logical circumvention. Today, in an interview with the Huffingtion Post, Kevin Feige seems to put an end to that speculation. To avoid confusion, I've included an excerpt of the interview below:
HP: With Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and the situation over the word "mutant" with Fox, there's some speculation that this might be a way to introduce the Inhumans.
KF: Well, Inhumans is something that we are definitely thinking about and we think there's great potential there for a great movie. But, no, no -- we have not linked those two.
HP: So using the Inhumans would have nothing to do with getting around the word "mutant"?KF: As it relates to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver? No. No, no, no.
 We'll have to see how Unleash the Fanboy's source responds to this one, but that seems like a pretty definitive answer from Feige.

In the same interview, Feige handled some questions about Doctor Strange, a feature film that Feige has long wanted and one for which Marvel is currently attempting to assemble a creative team. Feige was asked by the Huffington Post if it was fair to assume we'd see the Sorcerer Supreme join the MCU within the next 2-3 years. Feige replied, "I would be surprised if that were the case, yeah. Maybe three or four years, yeah we'll see. But, I would like it to be the case." Many observers, myself included, have had a Doctor Strange film all put penciled in for 2016 and while Feige doesn't completely discount that timeline, it does seem more likely we won't see the film until 2017, leaving July 2016 open for a different new entry to the MCU (Cosmic-based?).

Feige also spoke about the upcoming Doctor Strange film with Badass Digest and touched on just how they plan on bringing magic to the science-based MCU.

“Are you watching the Cosmos series?” began Feige. “That’s magic, [the quantum physics]. It’s unbelievable. If somebody knew how to tap into that stuff, what’s the difference between that and magic? You don’t get into it in Harry Potter, but if a scientist went to Hogwarts he’d find out how some of that stuff is happening! We’re not going to spend a lot of time on that, but there will be some of that. And particularly for a character like Strange, who goes from a man of science to a man of faith and who traverses both worlds. And sometimes there won’t be an answer! Sometimes he’ll want an answer - 'How is this happening?! - and nothing.” 

The most recent Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, "Yes Men", featured a cameo by established MCU character Lady Sif. Sif was sent to Earth by Odin (Loki) to assist in the return of the escaped Asgardian prisoner Lorelei. Lorelei is the sister of classic Thor villain Amora the Enchantress, a rumored favorite to finally appear on screen in the third solo Thor film. sat down with Kevin Feige and after discussing the appearance of the Asgardian sorceress, was asked if it possibly opens the door to the appearance of her sister. (Note: the questioner was asking about a movie; Feige's response was about the TV show. There was some disconnect there). "No, I wouldn't say that," replied Feige, "They very much have to forge their own territory, their own ground on the TV show, and where events can's fun to do that." So, while it's interesting to talk about it, it certainly doesn't clarify anything for the future of the MCU or the show.

We can be sure about a couple of things that will be upcoming on the show, however. While one of them is NOT the air date of episode 16, "End of the Beginning", we do know that episode 17, which will be entitled "Turn, Turn, Turn," will air April 8.

Secondly, we now know that an upcoming episode will feature an established Marvel comics character that most fanboys love to hate: Glenn Talbot.

Actor Adrian Pasdar will portray Talbot, a member of the Army under General Thunderbolt Ross and a general prick and thorn in the side of Bruce Banner. Does this mean we might see Banner or even Ross in the episode?

There it is guys...a lot of stuff in one place for your consumption. Enjoy!